Kids, defensive players recognized at luncheon

The children stole the show at the Lott Trophy Watch List luncheon

on Thursday which honors college football’s Defensive IMPACT Player

of the Year. And that’s just the way Ronnie Lott — the trophy’s

namesake — wanted it.

The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation kicked off its seventh

year of identifying college football’s Defensive IMPACT Player of

the Year in Newport Beach, Calif. in front of some of football’s

biggest dignitaries. John Robinson, Terry Donahue, Brad Budde, Ron

Yary, and Kermit Alexander were all in attendance. But halfway

through lunch, a half-dozen kids reduced those gridiron giants to

some audible sniffs and a few wiped eyes.

The first young man to take the podium was Adam Allen, a

slightly-built 10th grader who is in his second year of battling

brain stem cancer. Allen was granted his life-long wish by the

Make-a-Wish Foundation — a charitable organization that the

Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation supports — and explained how he got

to meet his favorite player, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald

Driver, at Lambeau Field.

Allen toured the Packers’ locker room and found a locker with

his name engraved above it as well as a personalized jersey hanging

inside. Allen smiled as he told the rapt audience about running

with the players through the tunnel onto Lambeau Field and

attempting the Lambeau Leap, laughing while admitting that he,

“didn’t make it.”

His most memorable moment, though, was his one-on-one time

with Donald Driver on the field after the rest of the players had

left. Driver tossed the ball with Allen, and according to Allen, he

“caught all ten passes,” despite others telling him he couldn’t do

it.

Kermit Alexander, the former Pro Bowl (’68) defensive back

for the San Francisco 49ers, also took the podium to talk about his

personal journey in the last seven years.

Alexander and his wife Tami had met a young boy named Clifton

in a Haitian orphanage and wanted to make him a part of their

family, but the typical bureaucratic mess of red tape in getting

Clifton to the United States was long and tedious. After every trip

to Haiti, they promised Clifton they would come back for him. On

one visit, they were surprised when another child at the orphanage

asked for a picture of Clifton. When Alexander asked why, the child

told him that “he’s my brother,” and that all of Clifton’s siblings

wanted a picture of him because they may never see him again.

The Alexanders’ one-child adoption mission expanded to

include Clifton and four siblings, but it took the devastating 2009

earthquake in Haiti to finally speed up the adoption process. The

newest members of the Alexander family—ranging from 9 to 16

years old now have a permanent home with Kermit and Tami. Proudly

introduced at the luncheon by their father, his kids were beaming

and the audience members were reaching for napkins to dab away

their tears.

Closing speaker Ronnie Lott asked for both Clifton Alexander

and Adam Allen to come back to the podium and putting his still cut

arms around the two boys, he paused slowly before he spoke, and

looked intently at the audience.

“Isn’t it obvious?” Lott asked with a slight waver in his

voice. “This award is bigger than us. Think of the people it’s

touched. ”

Indeed, Mr. Lott. Your message is heard, loud and clear.

The Pacific Club IMPACT Foundation’s mission is to recognize

and support both national and local charities that serve the youth

of America and have an impact on the lives of those served by these

groups. The 42 players on the 2010 Lott Trophy watch list were

selected due to their personal overall IMPACT both on and off the

field, with criteria selection emphasis on Integrity, Maturity,

Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

2010 Lott Trophy Watch Listers:

  • Akeem Ayers, UCLA
  • Mark Barron, Alabama
  • Jeremy Beal, Oklahoma
  • Brandon Boykin, Georgia
  • Rashad Carmichael, Virginia Tech
  • Ugo Chinasa, Oklahoma State
  • Jared Crick, Nebraska
  • Brian Duncan, Texas Tech
  • John Graves, Virginia Tech
  • Mark Herzlich, Boston College
  • Cameron Heyward, Ohio State
  • Ross Homan, Ohio State
  • Jeron Johnson, Boise State
  • Tejay Johnson, TCU
  • A.J. Jones, Florida
  • Greg Jones, Michigan State
  • Thomas Keiser, Stanford
  • Ryan Kerrigan, Purdue
  • Casey Matthews, Oregon
  • Cliff Matthews, South Carolina
  • Bryan McNary, Army
  • Wyatt Middleton, Navy
  • Von Miller, Texas A&M
  • Dontay Moch, Nevada
  • Mike Mohamed, Cal
  • Rahim Moore, UCLA
  • Stephen Paea, Oregon State
  • Patrick Peterson, LSU
  • Robert Quinn, North Carolina
  • Andrew Rich, BYU
  • Greg Romeus, Pitt
  • Kenny Rowe, Oregon
  • Tyler Sash, Iowa
  • Kelvin Sheppard, LSU
  • Malcolm Smith, USC
  • J.T. Thomas, West Virginia
  • JJ Watt, Wisconsin
  • Deunta Williams, North Carolina
  • Lawrence Wilson, UConn
  • Alex Wojciak, Maryland
  • Anthony Wright, Air Force